How ‘Elseworlds’ Sets Up Batwoman’s Solo TV Show

The episode focuses mainly on the crossover narrative, but “we created it with a bigger story in mind,” Caroline Dries says

Batwoman CW
Jack Rowand/The CW

(Warning: The following story contains spoilers from Monday night’s episode of “Arrow”)

Viewers finally got to meet Ruby Rose’s Batwoman in Monday night’s “Arrow” episode, which also shows the first look at the “Arrowverse” version of Gotham City.

While the episode mostly sticks to the “Elseworlds” crossover plot, it does lay out some of the groundwork for the upcoming “Batwoman” solo TV show, though the hints of what’s to come are more subtle. “Nothing really that would stand out, but in hindsight, might resonate,” Caroline Dries, who co-wrote the episode and is spearheading the “Batwoman” project, told reporters during a Q&A session at The CW’s Burbank offices. “We created it with a bigger story in mind.”

In the episode, Arrow and The Flash (with Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell playing body-swapped versions of their characters), along with Supergirl, head to Gotham City to try and figure out why the two heroes are having a “Freaky Friday” situation. They end up at Wayne Tower, which is an abandoned building, and that’s where the “Arrowverse” gets its first mention that, yes, Batman exists in this world, but he, along with Bruce Wayne, fled Gotham City about three years ago.

Though Oliver isn’t so sure Batman existed — itself a meta-joke that “Arrow” couldn’t mention Batman until now — they find the old bat-signal at the top of Wayne Tower. While the three are arguing over whether or not Batman was real, they run into Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) at the decrepit Wayne Tower, which she’s working out of and helping to get remodeled.

“Our goal was trying to create set ups story-wise where we could meet her, kind of be intrigued by her, introduce Gotham a little bit,” Dries said.

The bat-signal had a cover over it, which makes it seem like it hasn’t been used in awhile. However, it’s very possible Kate had it moved over from the top of Gotham City PD, where it’s typically depicted in Batman films and TV. It’s a hint that she’ll be re-using it for a Batwoman signal, though it’s not clear in the episode if the citizens of Gotham City know about Batwoman yet.

Dries explained that they had first had the idea to bring Batwoman into the “Arrowverse,” but “it took awhile for Warner Bros. and DC to come together.” Once they got the go-ahead, Dries says, “Greg [Berlanti] was like ‘lets use the crossover to introduce her.’”

For her part, “Arrow” showrunner Beth Schwartz said they always knew the crossover was going use the “Arrow” portion for a big introduction. “We always knew, on our side of things, we were introducing someone,” she sais. “But we didn’t know who it was for awhile.”

Batwoman only makes a brief appearance in costume at the end of the episode when everyone is at Arkham Asylum. And like her more-famous cousin, she broods around and basically wants all of the other heroes to get out of Gotham once they find John Deegan (Jeremy Davies), the Arkham-based doctor who is the reason that Oliver Queen and Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) have swapped identities.

But since the “Arrowverse” trio met Kate Kane before she got into costume, Supergirl is quickly able to deduce who Batwoman really is (she does have x-ray vision, after all). She also appears to be the only one who knows that Bruce Wayne is/was the Batman, telling Batwoman that she also has a more-famous heroic cousin, describing themselves as “frenemies.”

“It was important for us to sort of humanize Kate in a way that made her relatable to the other characters in the ‘Arrowverse,’ even though we’re creating sort of an enigmatic character,” Dries explained. “Kara obviously has this cousin, she’s sort of in his shadow, and her story is getting out of his shadow and that’s exactly Kate’s story. It was just important for us to find a moment for them to bond.”

The episode is as much of an intro to Gotham City as it is to Batwoman. The first thing that happens when the three CW heroes show up in Gotham City is they all get attacked by muggers in broad daylight. “We were just trying to create a, with the music and the exteriors and the alleys and the grime, we were just trying to create sort of an uncomfortable city,” Dries said.  “Being mugged instantaneously is a great way to personify the vibe we’re going for.”

She explained that the biggest challenge was finding a way to create a unique Gotham City, since it’s been depicted in so many different forms over the years. Dries said they based the look of their Gotham more on Chicago, similar to what Christopher Nolan did for his “Dark Knight” film trilogy.

“We just loved the idea of Chicago. It just really feels like the cityscape we were going for,” Dries says. “There’s a million different versions of it so its kind of hard to do a new version,” says Dries.